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Have you ever wondered about the impact individual digital marketing tactics and touchpoints have on your customers? And more importantly, whether that budget is translating into effective dealership marketing that brings in leads and closes sales? The effective use of in-depth marketing attribution allows your auto dealership to understand and answer these questions, and many more.

Marketing attribution is the process of figuring out which of your marketing tactics and campaigns are generating the most leads, along with the touchpoints that are most effective at driving customers to complete a sale. (A paid ad may get customers to visit your dealership’s website, but a promotional email that includes an incentive may push them to make a final purchasing decision.)

Each of your touchpoints is going to have varying levels of impact in this process, which is why attribution is crucial for measuring the marketing value of each channel or campaign. Knowing which marketing channels are having the most significant influence on your customers lets you make the best decision regarding which marketing channels need to be strengthened, and which need to be discarded.

Attribution is critical for effective dealership marketing

Marketing attribution allows you to “work smarter, not harder” — instead of having to waste time trying everything, you can experiment for a set period of time, and then do away with the marketing methods that are not benefitting your dealership.

Your customer’s journey is not always cut and dry. Some will jump right from the ‘awareness’ stage to the ‘decision’ stage, while others may linger in the ‘interest’ phase until you convince them otherwise. A dealership marketing strategy that makes effective use of attribution allows you to focus only on what actually works:

  • Attribution can provide efficiency gains between 15 and 30 percent.
  • A reported 84 percent of marketers say associating conversion events with marketing is very important to the growth of their business, but only 10 percent of marketers believe they have a strong capability to do so

More and more marketers are beginning to understand the importance of marketing attribution and the impact it has on efficiency, cost justification, cross channel marketing, and touchpoints. Understanding these concepts is critical to correctly attributing the right values to customer interactions and micro-moments.

For example, let’s say that your boss wants to tighten the marketing budget. As a result, you have to decide what parts of your marketing spend need to be pared back. Attributing the correct value and influence to your marketing methods requires attention to the ROI of each marketing tactic, along with collecting the right pieces of customer data to determine which tactics should be retained and optimized.

Essential tools and methods for tracking marketing attribution

Attribution is an essential next step for any dealership marketer who wants to optimize the effectiveness of their budgets, campaigns, and touchpoints. However, this is easier said than done — marketing attribution doesn’t work based on hunches or educated guesses alone.

If you are beginning to deploy a marketing attribution strategy, or if you need to update your current approach, take some time to review the tools and techniques you should be using:

  1. Attribution modeling: Once you’ve assigned values to the marketing touchpoints that are driving conversions, you then need to develop a systematized way to implement these values. Attribution modeling is the practice of analyzing which touchpoints receive credit for a conversion.
  2. First-Touch VS Last-Touch Attribution: ‘First-Touch’ and ‘Last-Touch’ are two of the most well-known attribution models. For the former, the credit of the conversion is assigned to the first marketing touchpoint between a user and your dealership. For the latter, credit is given to the action that directly precedes the purchase or conversion. While both are viable attribution models, assigning all of your value to one or the other may cause you to miss other critical marketing interactions, so be sure to take a look at alternative models.
  3. Google Analytics: To truly get the most out of your marketing attribution strategies, Google Analytics is a must-have tool for your dealership, with features including acquisition tracking, goal-setting, and a comparison tool for multiple attribution models. Google Analytics also makes it easy to see if you are overspending on (or undervaluing) a marketing channel or touchpoint. Combining it with other tools like Salesforce and Google Ads allows you to further sharpen your marketing attribution strategy.
  4. Measuring ROI: Before you begin the marketing attribution process, it’s crucial to measure your marketing ROI. It’s almost impossible to assign values to your marketing channels without first understanding the returns they are bringing to your dealership. Pay attention to your marketing budget, and track all the expenses involved in executing your marketing plans. From there, you can compare these expenses to your revenue, and determine the ROI for all of your marketing channels.
  5. Call Tracking: Phone calls are an excellent way to measure customer engagement and identify potential leads. However, to get the most out of tracking phone calls, you need the right tools. Call tracking, using software like CallRail, is a holistic attribution method for tracking inbound calls and form submissions, along with built-in attribution modeling. Call tracking allows marketers to use many of the tools and resources already mentioned in this section:
  • Direct integration with Google Analytics
  • Assistance in measuring marketing ROI
  • Providing clear data for campaign optimization and improvements

If you make marketing attribution a priority, you can effectively discard the methods that aren’t working, and optimize on the methods that are. And that means you’ll not only be making more efficient use of your marketing budget, you’ll also reach more customers.